The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready to Die



by AfroMan USER (9 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 819 replies

Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

#133 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"

"The greatest hardcore rap album of all time" - allmusic.com
Who's 2Pac? Seriously, eventhough he seems to get all the praise these days, 2Pac in my opinion doesn't come close to Biggie and this album is why. The rhyme skills on show here are about as good as it gets. This combined with Psychadelic funk beats and Puff Daddy's producing creates one of the finest rap records in history.

Throughout, Big raps about growing up, death, guns and troubles in the "hood" like most rappers do but his great story telling ability and rhyme delivery seperates him from the rest of the pack. The combination of both long and short lines piled on top of each other, in quick succession give a jumpy feel to the raps providing a greater groove to the overall structure. In areas "Ready To Die" is quite sinister and dark sounding eg. "Everyday Struggle "whereas in others it's more upbeat eg. "Juicy", either way the songs flow in nicely with each other and create a relaxed, laid back groove to the album. Biggie Smalls is my favourite rap artist of all time due to his easy flow and rhyme skills. "Ready to Die" is the greatet rap album from the greatest ever. Need I say anymore?

1. Intro (3:24)
Lot's of different sounds intertwined here. A loud thumping heartbeat pounds over the funk classic "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield while a woman gives birth. It then moves into an old school hip-hop track sampling "Good Times" by Chic. I guess this is like a three and a half minute representation of Biggie's life cut into three different sections which are marked by the songs played behind them. A cool way to start the album, can't really rate it though as
it's not a song.

2. Things Done Changed (3:57)
Kicks in with that legendary drum beat to start the album. Biggie's vocals enter and his flow lights up the song. The overall feel of the track sways towards gangsta rap with a dark mood. A great opening track with a solid groove and lyrical content(all the songs have this). Powerful way to start the album. Highly recommended as a download. 5/5

3. Gimme the Loot (5:04)
It's hard to believe that the second rapper is Biggie playing two contradictory characters. Truly unbelievable the way he does it. A spray of lines between himself takes the style of a Beastie Boys track with one rapper! Fully demontrates why this man was such a genius. Told in the form of a story, this is endlessly entertaining and one of the greatest rap tracks of all time. My favourite line(there are so many) would have to be - "For the bread and butter I leave ******s in the gutter". Masterpiece. 5/5

4. Machine Gun Funk (4:16)
This is a really dark one, a good representation of Biggie's hardcore side. More of the same legendary rap skills with a powerful chorus chant. Not much else to be said about it really. Just another great song on a great album. This is far from a filler track though, some rappers would kill to have a track of this caliber on their album. Defintley gets full marks 5/5

5. Warning (3:40)
The best groove on the album so far. Really psychadelic riff with a pounding drum beat set the mood. Another track in the form of a story about Biggie catching wind of people he used to know plotting to kill him. There's a small, light hearted interlude towards the end which finally rounds off with gun fire. A really strong track. Probably deserves a five, I don't know. I'll give it four so that im not giving every track full marks.4/5

6. Ready To Die (4:24)
"We gon' kill yo ass" claims Puff Daddy before the rapping commences. This is really powerful stuff. Biggie sounds deadly serious with every word that he says - "In a sec I through the tec to your fuckin neck, everybody hit the deck, Biggie bought to get some wreck". Notorius is trying to prove here that he doesn't give a fuck about anyone and will do anything he has to. Whether he would or not is a different matter but the delivery in this sounds pretty convincing. The last words of the track are "I don't want to see no crying at my funeral" - kinda sad to hear now when we know that he died so young. 5/5

7. One More Chance (4:43)
Over a minute of woman phoning Biggie before the rapping starts. This is a track devoted to sex and how he's a playa, lol yeah ok. "I've got that good dick girl, you didn't know?" - hmm, right. "I got the cleanest meanest penis, ya never seen this stroke of genius". A bit too comical in areas to compete with the other tracks but a refreshing change in topic from the usual death, guns and hate. Still a good song 3.5/5

8. #!*@ Me (Interlude) (1:31)

9. The What (3:57)
Features Method Man and has a real Wu-Tang feel to it. A menacing groove with more virtuoso rapping. There's a great contrast from the other tracks thanks to the introduction of Meth. Two of the greatest rappers of all time on the same track, you can't really go wrong. Not quite as strong as some of the others but still a great track 4/5

10. Juicy (5:03)
The most upbeat song on the album. Chances are you will have heard at some point on MTV or the radio. A really groovy bass line and beat gives it a pop-like feel.Big raps about growing up and how hard a time he had of it. His mother claims he made a lot of it up and he grew up in a decent home and not "in the hood". Will appeal to most people into pop, rap and r&b music. One of the greatest hip hop tracks of all time, even if it is a bit "poppy" 5/5

11. Everyday Struggle (5:19)
Ok my internet's crashed twice now, im getting a bit frustrated with re-writing the same song reviews now so bare with me. Dark, hardcore, dirty raps about Big's struggle with life - "I don't wanna live no more". Sounds like a bit of a cry for help. Laced with Puff Daddy's throughout, another good track. 3.5/5

12. Me & My Bitch (4:00)
"you look so good, i'd suck on yo daddy's dick"! A song dedicated to Big's "bitch" where he proclaims his love for her. Just another really great song, there's a limit to how much I can say about these songs before I start repeating myself. There's a bit of a controversial line where he claims he'll beat her if she does anything wrong - the big man's clearly a true romantic 4/5

13. Big Poppa (4:12)
Im going to leave this short as there's nothing more to say other than this is a rap classic. Really smooth with a catchy chorus. Sounds like something Dr. Dre would produce. 5/5

14. Respect (5:22)
Wow, this track takes you by surprise. Completley different from all the others with a powerful groove. A woman vocalist chants in areas throughout. A really good track. Highly recommended to people who are more into the hip hop side of rap music. A hidden gem in the album 5/5

15. Friend of Mine (3:28)
Another song about sex. I never realised how sexually orientated this album is. More great raps about hoe's and bitches. 4/5

16. Unbelievable (3:43)
I think this track was released but I can't be sure. You can feel the album is slowly coming to an end and this is a great track to slowly bring it down. The same charachteristics as the other tracks - great groove and great raps, a formula that never seems to fail. Set out like a standard song with it's verse, chorus, verse structure. Just another really enjoyable track. 4/5

17. Suicidal Thoughts (2:53)
Really powerful and thought provoking way to finish the album. The layout is Biggie phoning Puff Daddy and talking about death - this eventually ends in Big shooting himself over the phone. Very original in style with Puff daddy trying to pursuade him out of it. The album ends with a heartbeat just like it started. A momentous finish to an unbelievable album 5/5

Do I really need to justify why you should buy an album ranked as the 133rd greatest album ever? Biggie's rhyme skills are the greatest ever and this album, fully demonstrates why. I can't think of anything negative to say which truly shows how good a record this is. If you ever get a chance to buy this album I highly recommend you do. Masterpiece 5/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
September 25th 2004


My internet crashed twice in doing that review. You have no idea how hard that was.

You better enjoy it :evil:

Dark Hero
September 25th 2004


Great review but i'm not a big fan of rap though.

September 25th 2004


Great review. One time on BET I saw a live show of this funk/soul band that did an awesome cover of "Big Poppa" with a couple psychadelic solos added in the beginning. I use that song as an example to all the Blink or Linkin fans who say that their music has no use for solos. All music could use a solo or two!

February 21st 2005


Wow, ok. I've never heard anyone that appreciates rap music say that this wasn't a definitive rap album. I would say it's quite consistant throughout cosidering there are 17 songs.

There are no 2Pac albums in the top 500 because...will I say it....because 2Pac never made a great album. People love the image of him and he did make some great songs but his albums are very average.

September 23rd 2005


This album is not very good

Electric City
February 2nd 2006


I find rap just plain crappy poetry over a beat. I agree with Fee, actually. The best rappers are the ones that rap about something other than slapping fine ass ho's. Eminem and Kanye West rap about something other than women and livin in the south and getting crunk. They're the best.

Zesty Mordant
February 2nd 2006


I find rap just plain crappy poetry over a beat.

I stopped reading here.

Now I'll borrow an apt phrase from Iai:

Wow. YOU have no idea what you're talking about.


February 2nd 2006


I find rap just plain crappy poetry over a beat. I agree with Fee, actually. The best rappers are the ones that rap about something other than slapping fine *** ho's. Eminem and Kanye West rap about something other than women and livin in the south and getting crunk. They're the best.

Eminem doesn't rap about drugs, sex and violence?

Sacre bleu!

February 7th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I find rap just plain crappy poetry over a beat. I agree with Fee, actually. The best rappers are the ones that rap about something other than slapping fine *** ho's. Eminem and Kanye West rap about something other than women and livin in the south and getting crunk. They're the best.


Anyway, I dug this out and gave it another chance. And yes, it's a masterpiece, and yes, it's better than anything 2Pac did. Words swallowed.

Really? On any given day I might like Me Against the World better than this.

March 11th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0


This is my favorite album of all time

Everyday Struggle 3.5? na, 5/5 Best beat on the album

Unbelievable is the truest rap song on the album for me 5/5

as is the what 5/5

well, actually, it's my fave album, so they all get 5's


I don't think i've ever skipped anything other than skits on this, eVER!

May 31st 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Shi[font=verdana]t[/font], my momma got cancer in her breast, Don't ask me why I'm mothafu[font=verdana]c[/font]kin stressed. Things done changed.

Great album. Good review.

May 31st 2006


Didn't allmusic say it was "seen as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums of all time", rather than the greatest?

Brain Dead
May 31st 2006


I really like this album, but I don't really think that it was a hardcore rap album, more like a pop-rap one. Great review, B.I.G. is one of the best rappers ever. But I like Pac a bit better.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

June 30th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

This album got me into rap. Heard Gimme The Loot and that was it, I was hooked. Absolute classic album. Nice review.

August 14th 2006


if u hate this............you're a moron

August 17th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, a Fuck Me Interlude is a bit unneccessary, though, I mean it's fine, but it doesn't seem like there's much point to it.

then again, all album skits tend to be very skipable

May 14th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album, one of the greatest rap albums made in the 90's. This was what got me into rap. Highlights for me would be "Ready To Die", "Juicy" and "Everyday Struggle". It takes you to another time, another place and lookin more than a decade on, there is that feeling that when you open up that used and abused cd case again, you know what's going to come next. And it will amaze you, no matter how many times you listen to it, you will still be suprised by how good it is. :DThis Message Edited On 06.16.07

June 30th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Some real dope tracks on here, Biggie had one of the best flows ever. Amazing album.

July 15th 2007


Why does Juicy, the 10th track, start off with "I dedicate this album". Silly fatman. The introductory speech thing to that track is bloody hilarious too.

July 15th 2007



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